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How I’m Using Points & Miles to Travel in 2019

How I’m Using Points & Miles to Travel in 2019
Caroline Lupini

It’s already May and I’ve done a fair bit of travel this year but I still have a lot more plan. Here’s a look at how I’ve used miles to book some of my 2019 travel.

April – Chicago to Spain

Remember that crazy Iberia promotion from last year? For each flight booked, Iberia was offering bonus miles and they didn’t require actually flying the booked flight used to earn the miles! Sound too good to be true? That’s what many people thought. Nevertheless, I spent about $300 and earned enough miles to book round-trip business class from Chicago to Madrid on Iberia with some miles left over! I just returned from this trip to Spain, and let me tell you – the route from Chicago to Madrid is a great use of Iberia miles if you can find availability on dates you want to fly!

July – Curacao to Cusco, Peru

I have a combination of paid fares booked to eventually get me from Michigan to Curacao, and they definitely weren’t all cheap. But, due to routing and timing requirements, I was somewhat limited on my options and had to pay cash. But, I was able to find a great miles fare from Curacao to Cusco, Peru – only 12,500 United miles in coach for a ticket that would have cost me over $800, in coach! That’s a great use of miles.

I could have spent additional miles and booked business class, but since all of the flights are on narrow-body planes without a great business class product, I decided it wasn’t worth the extra miles. I’ll be flying from Curacao to Panama City to Bogota to Cusco, so it’s a fair amount of flying. I also have an overnight layover in Bogota, but I’ve already found out that there’s a 24-hour lounge that I plan to hunker down in for the night!

After visiting Cusco, I plan to travel to Bolivia and the come back to Peru before finally wrapping up my time in South America in Colombia. I haven’t yet booked any flights because I’m not sure about travel dates, but there’s a chance that I will do some flying within South America and that it could make sense to use miles for these flights. For example, I see that I could fly from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Lima for $215 or only 7,500 British Airways Avios, assuming I can find award availability. If I can, I will most likely choose to use miles over paying cash for this flight. Similarly, I may choose to fly from somewhere in Colombia to Costa Rica instead of traveling overland, but it depends on how much time I have, flight costs, and award availability.

December – Costa Rica to Michigan

My final flight redemption for the year will be from Costa Rica to Michigan. I haven’t booked it just yet because I’m hoping I’ll be able to find flights from Liberia instead of from San Jose, but I know flight prices are pretty high and that there are a number of different options available for award flights currently. Since I’ll be traveling somewhat close to the holidays, I’m not going to wait too much longer before making a final call on these flights.

Overall this year, I actually don’t have that much award travel planned. In fact, I don’t have that much flying planned this year in comparison to previous years! As of now, I think I’ll fly around 60,000 miles this year – compared with last year’s 101,000, it’s definitely a pretty big decrease in flying!

What are some of your award flight plans for 2019?


[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (2)


  1. OZFLYER86

    May 20, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    we use qantas frequent flyer points to fly from west coast usa (any of about 12 airports) to Colorado, any of about 4 airports).

    We usually get a cheap fare to LAX or SFO, spend a bit of time round west coast, then fly to Colorado, trying to avoid Denver if at all possible. It’s a very badly designed airport. What were they thinking having no rental cars at airport?

  2. guesswho2000

    May 25, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Ah the IB promotion, I used 68,000 SIN to SYD on BA F back in February, great way to get back. The outbound of that trip was MEL-HKG in J using Velocity points, then HKG-SIN J using SQ Krisflyer miles. I got home from SYD to MEL using Avios on QF A330 in J.

    My other big redemptions – MEL-HKG-SIN-MEL, Velocity MEL-HKG VA J, then QFF miles HKG-SIN in CX J and SIN-MEL in EK F; and MEL-SIN-HKG-LHR-PEK-SIN-MEL using a combination of SQ, QF and BA miles.

    Rest of my flying is revenue at the moment, but we’ll see!

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